Your View of the Bible

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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:08 am

Ed: Thanks Keith Glad to hrar that she is an HUC-JIR Grad. There are thee campuses Cincinnati, New York & Los Angeles.

See HUC.EDU
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:20 am

KeithE wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:Ed": Keith, do you know when and where this Rabbi did her Rabbinical studies? Trudy received an MA in Cognitive Language Studies from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. In 1998 and 99 she was the liaison between Jewish and Christian Graduate Students. Many of our friends during that period are Now Reformed Rabbis.

Her name is Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar and apparently she did her studies at Hebew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in NYC. Source: Her Facebook. Don’t know when but she is probably in her 30s or early 40s (my guess).

Here is a story about her.


Thanks Keith! Glad to hear that she is a HUC-JIR Grad

They have three campuses Cincinnati, Los Angeles and New York
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:21 pm

There have been some interesting posts indicating a wide range of views on the Bible. I thought of another question for discussion.

How do your views on the Bible inform and direct your quantity and quality of Bible study? For example, if you think that the Bible has a number of contradictions, absurdities, and/or morally questionable advice, how does that affect the way you study the Bible and how much time and importance you give to Bible study? Or, if you believe that the New Testament cannot be understood without sufficient knowledge of the Old Testament, or believe that you cannot understand the Old Testament without reading it through the lens of the New Testament, does that affect how much time (comparatively) you give to studying one versus the other? Just a couple of examples to identify what I mean, but not to limit the discussion to those.

Thanks.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Sandy » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:47 pm

I am much more interested in Bible study that is conceptual, and wholistic, rather than a "verse by verse" exegesis with few relevant examples. God is not confined by religious orthodoxy which leads to credalism. If the Bible is intended to be a revelation by God of himself to humans, then studying it becomes a matter of seeing what he revealed, rather than developing an orthodoxy that is simply an imitation of someone else's behavior or a compare and contrast of their theology. The Bible lets us see something about God, in order to be able to think about it, reflect on it, and figure out how to connect with the spirit to make the principle, value or concept relevant and credible in the world that currently exists.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby KeithE » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:16 pm

Rvaughn wrote:There have been some interesting posts indicating a wide range of views on the Bible. I thought of another question for discussion.

How do your views on the Bible inform and direct your quantity and quality of Bible study? For example, if you think that the Bible has a number of contradictions, absurdities, and/or morally questionable advice, how does that affect the way you study the Bible and how much time and importance you give to Bible study? Or, if you believe that the New Testament cannot be understood without sufficient knowledge of the Old Testament, or believe that you cannot understand the Old Testament without reading it through the lens of the New Testament, does that affect how much time (comparatively) you give to studying one versus the other? Just a couple of examples to identify what I mean, but not to limit the discussion to those.

Thanks.

Once as a 17-18 year old i found out that the Bible was not inerrant - through my own study it could not be given the contradictions i saw in the Gospels and some Kings-Samuel vs Chronicle accounts- i could read the bible more naturally (just as it comes to us like Luke saying he is giving an orderly account, not that he was relaying an audible or sub-audible voice from God that has to be perfect). The lofty passages are just as powerful while skipping the dark passages.

If you want to read something that closely resembles my belief about the nature of the bible* and approach to extracting meaning/theology/instruction, read Adam Hamilton’s Making Sense out of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today.

These days i read more extra-biblical books many of which are just as inspired by God as biblical books, imo. i do typically read a devotional (e.g. currently S&H’s Reflections) weekdays mornings which includes a biblical passage. And once a month i do a SS lesson which is always keyed the the Lexicon - this usually involves some detailed bible study. i just skip over anything that fails my Holy Spirit test - like last week where God is said to “harden Pharaoh's heart”. You see i can believe that God is calling all of us to live holy, loving lives.

i am very comfortable in these understandings and would be uncomfortable believing in inerrancy or infallibility.

* Note that i do not capitalize “bible”. It is not divine. Yes i know most books are capitalized, but i just want to make a point. Just uncapitalized my i’s as well :wink:
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:35 pm

KeithE wrote:* Note that i do not capitalize “bible”. It is not divine. Yes i know most books are capitalized, but i just want to make a point.
I am curious whether you follow that editorial policy when writing of the Qur'an, Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, Book of Mormon, and so forth?
KeithE wrote:Just uncapitalized my i’s as well :wink:

By the way, you missed one the the "B's".
KeithE wrote:Once as a 17-18 year old i found out that the Bible was not inerrant...
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby KeithE » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:10 pm

Rvaughn wrote:
KeithE wrote:* Note that i do not capitalize “bible”. It is not divine. Yes i know most books are capitalized, but i just want to make a point.
I am curious whether you follow that editorial policy when writing of the Qur'an, Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, Book of Mormon, and so forth?
KeithE wrote:Just uncapitalized my i’s as well :wink:

By the way, you missed one the the "B's".
KeithE wrote:Once as a 17-18 year old i found out that the Bible was not inerrant...

And neither am i.

I guess it is just an editorial approach I use on BL to make a point I’m more a Christian than a biblicist. And I’ve read enough of these other books (except the dhammapada) to have a much higher regard for the bible.

But don’t take me too confrontingly. I believe that as a matter of practice, most self-professed inerrantists ignore some of the plain meaning of the bible and follow the loftier passages, much like I do. Some points of divergence remain however (e.g. primacy of love vs law/command or homosexuality or women in ministry).

As you said earlier at some point, we should agree to disagree.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:48 pm

KeithE wrote:But don’t take me too confrontingly.
Just in case you thought I was offended, I am not. But I was curious to understand how broadly you applied your "books not divine" idea to the English rules of capitalization.

Thanks.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:03 pm

In accord with my understanding the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of the Bible, I study it as a source of truth, salvation, morality, ethics and beliefs. This does not mean that I think that there is no truth to be learned outside the Bible. For example, I believe nature teaches us there is a God, but that the Bible reveals that God to us in a way we cannot know by studying nature.

It should come as no surprise that the library of the Bible is my primary reading. I read a good bit of other stuff, mostly about theology, church history, genealogy, and music. If I want fiction I usually turn to a different medium. I read the Bible and study the Bible, which I view as slightly different approaches, though compatible and not always separate. In making the distinction between the two, first, I read through the Bible like I would any other book (or in this case, books). I just read through it for comprehension and understanding of what is written without stopping to "study". I also take time to study a certain book as a unit, study details of words, definitions, grammar and so forth. I read the KJV but like to look up how others have translated certain passages. I sometimes consult the Greek, or something someone has written about the original languages. Though I have studied Greek (a long time ago) I cannot sit down and read Greek with comprehension, so I expect that I can make more mistakes than the benefit I get from it, and only consider that as a matter of interest to which I don't give as much weight. I also consult what others have written, agreeing with Charles Spurgeon, "It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others."

While I disagree with the way I feel some liberals and progressives seem to dismiss the Bible, we are not without problems on the conservative to fundamental end of the spectrum. In studying the Bible I try not to miss the big picture looking for the little picture, not to miss the haystack looking for the needle in it. Or as Jesus put it, we might carefully pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and yet omit the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. I often say to my church, "I don't understand [this or that detail], but let's not miss the big picture.

Anyway, enough rambling, but maybe that presents a little of how my view of the Bible affects my own Bible study.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:13 am

One of my best experiences that has guided my personal study of the Bible was a one month course on the Devotional Life of the Christian Minister. The teachers of this were a New Testament professor, a theology professor, and a church history professor. It was a guide to using the Bible for personal inspiration and direction as one schooled in the careful exegetical study of scripture and wedded to historical and language studies of its texts. It became the link I needed to keep me from simply running to a devotional style from my past of doing topical daily Bible readings and of looking for simple aphorisms. It was a big picture effort to integrate great Christian devotional literature from Augustine forward and to relate all this to an over-arching theology of who God is and of claiming for scripture what it claims for itself without putting it either in a straitjacket of inerrancy or one of simply relegating it to history and not to the Spirit's work in the present. That has shaped much of my experience since I shared that seminar in January 1972. How we use scripture is crucial to where we end up in our journey. Indeed, how we use it may be more important than simply what we say about it.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Sandy » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:03 am

Rvaughn wrote:While I disagree with the way I feel some liberals and progressives seem to dismiss the Bible, we are not without problems on the conservative to fundamental end of the spectrum. In studying the Bible I try not to miss the big picture looking for the little picture, not to miss the haystack looking for the needle in it. Or as Jesus put it, we might carefully pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and yet omit the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. I often say to my church, "I don't understand [this or that detail], but let's not miss the big picture.


Exactly. That's a good way to put it. I grew up on Baptist Sunday School Board/Lifeway Sunday School and Bible study literature, and the approach was always more or less a "verse by verse" exegesis, landing on evidence for this doctrinal point, or that one, without a whole lot of consideration given to the whole concept that each passage supported. A lot of little personal pet doctrines underwent some considerable change when viewed in the context of the whole principle to which the verses were connected. When I went to a Baptist college, and discovered that historical context and original language changed perception, it was shocking at first, though the study of scripture was still done in small pieces, "verse by verse." My view of eschatology, for example, changed considerably as a result of application of context and original language. I had a Sunday School class of 70's and up for five years that had a hard time getting used to the thought that the "verses" weren't part of the original text, but are just reference points inserted by the printer, and then, were concerned about whether adding chapter divisions and verse markings constituted "adding to scripture." No wonder we miss the greater concepts and principles, like peace, integrity, equality and community.

It's much more difficult to look at the Bible wholistically, and conceptually, but I think it appears much more consistent and many of the niggling little detailed arguments about its consistency in some places are easily resolved when the whole concept is emphasized. It's how you can see the value of peace in spite of the violence and war recorded in the Old Testament, or the value of integrity when people who remained faithful often lost their lives because of it. It's in those "big picture" principles where I see the Bible as "truth, without any mixture of error." If you don't get past finite details of literalism and doctrinal conformity, then every disagreement over interpretation and meaning makes it appear inconsistent, even over the insistence that it is not.

I can't really identify any "liberals and progressives" who "dismiss" the Bible. I know some who have vastly different interpretations of it, or who do not necessarily accept some of the premises that conservatives do, but I can also point to conservatives and fundamentalists who shroud themselves in descriptive language about the Bible, and then ignore it altogether when it is not to their benefit, or who insert human-derived theological "systems" into it in order to achieve a particular interpretation, or who take it out of context for their own benefit.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Haruo » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:38 am

Sandy, maybe you can comment on your take on this item I just posted on Facebook. You're not the first I've seen use the word (or the spelling). "wholistically"
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby KeithE » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:38 pm

Sandy said:
Exactly. That's a good way to put it. I grew up on Baptist Sunday School Board/Lifeway Sunday School and Bible study literature, and the approach was always more or less a "verse by verse" exegesis, landing on evidence for this doctrinal point, or that one, without a whole lot of consideration given to the whole concept that each passage supported. A lot of little personal pet doctrines underwent some considerable change when viewed in the context of the whole principle to which the verses were connected. When I went to a Baptist college, and discovered that historical context and original language changed perception, it was shocking at first, though the study of scripture was still done in small pieces, "verse by verse.

"It's much more difficult to look at the Bible wholistically, ....

I can't really identify any "liberals and progressives" who "dismiss" the Bible. I know some who have vastly different interpretations of it, or who do not necessarily accept some of the premises that conservatives do, but I can also point to conservatives and fundamentalists who 1. shroud themselves in descriptive language about the Bible, and then 2. ignore it altogether when it is not to their benefit, or who 3. insert human-derived theological "systems" into it in order to achieve a particular interpretation, or who 4. take it out of context for their own benefit.


Wholistical vs Holistic

Wholistic refers to the whole, a whole item or whole body of a person or thing.

A holistic view means that we are interested in engaging and developing the whole person. You can think of this as different levels, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It's the concept that the human being is multi-dimensional. We have conscious and unconscious aspects, rational and irrational aspects.

In context, I think you meant to say wholistically just as you did.

There are some liberals who no doubt dismiss the bible wholly (hmmm), but do not count this sometimes liberal as one of those. For one, it is the only place that gives us the life of Jesus or any of His teachings. Sure there is mention of Jesus in Tacitus and Josephus, but not a record of His life or teaching. Can’t be a Christ following Christian w/o reading the gospels, but you can please God w/o reading the gospels.

Your red lines (all 4 parts) are very true; but did you mean today “deceptive language” instead of “descriptive language” in 1. (spell checker striking again)? I would add that many conservatives do these things unconsciously.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Sandy » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:18 pm

Haruo wrote:Sandy, maybe you can comment on your take on this item I just posted on Facebook. You're not the first I've seen use the word (or the spelling). "wholistically"


Sure. And I do mean it with the spelling "wholistic" rather than "holistic."

Hebrews 7:18-19 wrote: The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.


We have the advantage, on this side of the closed canon, to see the whole progress of God's revelation of himself through scripture. A whole value can be discerned, consistently and clearly, by looking at the way God revealed it, slowly, over time, through different events and circumstances.

A good example is peace. We believe that you can discern from scripture that God is a God of peace, and that violence and war are characteristics of a sinful, fallen world. But there are all of those places in the Old Testament where God led Israel to war, and in some cases, miraculously intervened on their behalf. So how is peace a godly value? Certainly God could have easily established Israel in place, and they could have accomplished their purpose in his will without war, but there's a recognition there that sinful man lived in a fallen world, and God used war to teach the Israelites, and their enemies, lessons in addition to accomplishing his purpose. It's clear, as they move through history, that he wanted his people to develop a passion for peace, and learn how to love all humanity (love your enemies), but that took time to accomplish in a fallen world, and with protecting human conscience and free will. At one point, God reserved his greatest blessing for a King of Israel for Solomon, allowing him, rather than his father David, to build the Temple because he was a man of peace. The concept is made perfect in Christ, clearly peace is a highly valued part of the character of God, and each succeeding generation in the Bible gets closer to what God values. It's a broad concept, consistent with where the same value is taught at the same time all through scripture.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:42 pm

KeithE wrote:...did you mean today “deceptive language” instead of “descriptive language” in 1. (spell checker striking again)?
Sandy, I'd also be interested in your explanation of “descriptive language.” I was confused by it as well.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Sandy » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:31 pm

Rvaughn wrote:
KeithE wrote:...did you mean today “deceptive language” instead of “descriptive language” in 1. (spell checker striking again)?
Sandy, I'd also be interested in your explanation of “descriptive language.” I was confused by it as well.


When I say they "shroud themselves in descriptive language about the Bible, I mean the over-use of terms like inerrant, infallible, verbal, and plenary. If it's all they say that it is, then why ignore the difficult, not so clear, hard passages.
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Re: Your View of the Bible

Postby Rvaughn » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:16 pm

Sandy wrote:I can't really identify any "liberals and progressives" who "dismiss" the Bible.
I'd just have to say that we know some different people. But that really wasn't the main point of that paragraph, which was a segue to one problem some conservatives have.
Sandy wrote:...point to conservatives and fundamentalists who shroud themselves in descriptive language about the Bible, and then ignore it altogether when it is not to their benefit, or who insert human-derived theological "systems" into it in order to achieve a particular interpretation, or who take it out of context for their own benefit.
Sandy wrote:When I say they "shroud themselves in descriptive language about the Bible, I mean the over-use of terms like inerrant, infallible, verbal, and plenary. If it's all they say that it is, then why ignore the difficult, not so clear, hard passages.
Thanks for the explanation. No doubt many hard passages can be and are avoided or ignored, but (again knowing different people, I suppose) I find a lot of fundamentalists and conservatives often camp out on not so clear, hard passages (but perhaps not the same ones you are talking about). In our case, at least at the local church level, we would find it hard to avoid difficult passages altogether (assuming we wanted to), since in our adult Bible study we have a plan to go through all the books of the Bible (we are a long way from accomplishing it). I would add, though, that “I don't know” can be a completely honest and acceptable answer. Perhaps it is more needful for conservatives who believe in inerrancy than progressives who don't -- who have the option of saying some things like what I recently read in Baptist News in some of Chuck Queen's opinion pieces: “I find [that part of the Bible account] to be totally unbelievable and unacceptable,” “I think it is important to note that it is very unlikely that the historical Jesus actually said this,” and “I have no doubt Matthew added this to the original parable.”
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